Memphis makes good at foul line to beat Blazers
PORTLAND — There's no mystery to how the Memphis Grizzlies finally won back-to-back games — they made 35 of 36 free throws.
Rookie Tarence Kinsey had 20 points to lead four Memphis starters in double-figures and the Grizzlies beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-92 Thursday night, becoming the last team in the NBA to win two straight.
Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick added 18 points apiece and Pau Gasol had 17 for the Grizzlies, who made their first 29 free throw attempts and finished at 97.2 percent.
"That was a big plus for us, because it was the difference," said Gasol, who had the Grizzlies' only miss. "It gave us the chance to win at the end of the game."
Zach Randolph had a career-high 43 points and tied a season-high with 17 rebounds for Portland, continuing his torrid play against the Grizzlies this season.
Kinsey hit a jumper with 46 seconds remaining to give the Grizzlies a 92-90 lead. Outlaw missed on the other end for the Blazers, and Warrick drove into the lane and hit a hook shot.
Randolph made a driving layup for the Portland, but Warrick countered with two free throws.
Brandon Roy had 13 points and five assists for the Blazers. Travis Outlaw added 13 points. Portland, which has lost three in a row, missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts.
"We had too many guys not making plays tonight," Roy said. "We've got to keep fighting and trying to win as many games as possible."
Memphis, which has the worst record in the NBA, has won four of five against the Blazers in Portland. The Grizzlies beat Portland 103-102 in double-overtime Feb. 23 at the Rose Garden, hitting 31 of 33 free throws that night. Memphis is 75.6 percent from the line this season.
With Mike Miller and Damon Stoudamire again sitting out with patellar tendinitis, Junior Harrington and Kinsey made their third starts for Memphis.
Harrington, who played 48 minutes in an 88-86 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, got some relief with the return of Chucky Atkins, who played 22 minutes, scoring five points.
Kinsey, who led all scorers with 24 points in the game against the Lakers, was 8-for-13 from the field against the Blazers. Kinsey, an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina, is averaging 19 points in his last four games.
"He's been spectacular," Memphis coach Tony Barone said. "No fear at all."
Randolph was 16-of-26 from the field and 13-of-16 from the free throw line. He is averaging 33 points in four games against the Grizzlies.
Portland went up 32-30 with 8:25 left in the second quarter, but Kinsey's 3-pointer jump-started a 16-4 run that gave the Grizzlies a 46-36 lead.
The Blazers closed the half with a 6-0 run that got them to 50-46 at the break.
Randolph hit a 22-footer with 9:01 to go in the fourth to give Portland the lead at 74-73.
The Grizzlies took a 90-88 lead with 1:26 left on Warrick's breakaway dunk. Randolph tied the game with a layup on the ensuing possession.